Calcutta, Sept. 18: The Bengal CPM today derived quiet satisfaction from Mamata Banerjee’s decision to withdraw support to the UPA government and break her alliance with the Congress, but remained wary of a change of heart on her part.
“We will have to wait and watch for the next 72 hours,’’ a central committee leader said.
Officially, the state unit did not speak a word about the gains it expects from a Congress-Trinamul break-up but privately, party leaders made no bones about it being a “happy turn of events”.
The CPM hopes to reap the dividends starting from the panchayat polls scheduled next year, leaders said.
“The alliance between the Congress and Trinamul affected our fortunes in the 2009 general election and 2011 Assembly polls,” a CPM state secretariat member said.
“So, a snapping of ties between them would certainly help us through a division of votes. To us, it is a happy turn of events.”
The Congress-Trinamul alliance in 2009 saw the Left’s Lok Sabha tally plunge from 35 to 15. Two years later, the alliance swept to power at Writers’ Buildings with a three-fourths majority.
However, the CPM leadership is keenly aware of the possibility of Mamata having a rethink if the Centre meets some of her demands. “If that happens, it will be back to square one…. Mamata and the Congress would then reunite,’’ the central committee leader said.
The party’s public statements were devoid of any gloating. Rather, the CPM claimed the Trinamul move had vindicated the Left’s decision to call a strike against the Centre’s moves on diesel and FDI in retail.
“That the Left took a logical decision to call the September 20 strike has been proved by Trinamul’s move to withdraw support,’’ CPM state secretary Biman Bose said.
Earlier, after a Left Front meeting, Bose had appealed to people to make the strike successful. He said the front would not try to enforce the strike by asking shops and offices to keep shutters down.
Mamata asked “my friends in the CPM and the SUCI” not to observe the strike in the interests of the people.
“The CPM and the Congress have no reason to rejoice. We are going to oppose the bandh. I will tell the common people, the traders and everyone else to maintain normality,” she said.
“Bandhs don’t help. In each bandh we stand to lose Rs 2,000 crore. Where will we get so much money?”
In response, Bose said: “We hope Trinamul will not oppose the strike.”